Behavior management

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Behavior management is similar to behavior modification. It is a less intensive version of behavior therapy. In behavior modification, the focus is on changing behavior, while in behavior management the focus is on maintaining order. Behavior management skills are of particular importance to teachers in the educational system. Behavior management include all of the actions and conscious in actions to enhance the probability people, individually and in groups, choose behaviors which are personally fulfilling, productive, and socially acceptable.[1]

There is a great deal of research related to "behavior change" and "behavior management". Student Davidson does, in actuality, misinterpret the origination of the theory in connection to England's Industrial Revolution. B.F. Skinner and Carl Rogers have given two distinctly different approaches for addressing the behavior. Skinner's approach says that anyone can manipulate behavior by first identifying what the individual finds rewarding. Once the rewards of an individual are known, then those rewards can be selected that the manager is willing to give in exchange for good behavior. Skinner calls this "Positive Reinforcement Psychology". Rogers proposes that in order to effectively address behavior problems, an individual must be persuaded to want to behave appropriately. This is done by teaching the individual the difference between right and wrong including why he or she should do what is right. Rogers believes that the individual must have an internal awareness of right and wrong.

Uses of behavior management[edit]

Many of the principles and techniques used are the same as behavior modification yet delivered in a less intensively and consistent fashion. Usually, behavior management is applied at the group level by a classroom teacher as a form of behavioral engineering to produce high rates of student work completion and minimize classroom disruption. In addition, greater focus has been placed on building self-control. Brophy (1986) writes:

"Contemporary behavior modification approaches involve students more actively in planning and shaping their own behavior through participation in the negotiation of contracts with their teachers and through exposure to training designed to help them to monitor and evaluate their behavior more actively, to learn techniques of self-control and problem solving, and to set goals and reinforce themselves for meeting these meetings." (p. 191)[2]

In general behavior management strategies have been very effective in reducing classroom disruption.[3] In addition, recent efforts have focused on incorporating principles of functional assessment into the process.[4]

While such programs can come from a variety of behavioral change theories, the most common practices rely on the use of applied behavior analysis principles such as positive reinforcement and mild punishments (such as response cost and child time-out). Behavioral practices such as differential reinforcement are commonly used.[5] Sometimes, these are delivered in a token economy or a level system.,[6] In general, the reward component is considered effective. For example, Cotton (1988) reviewed 37 studies on tokens, praise, and other reward systems and found them to be highly effective in managing student classroom behavior.[7] The most comprehensive review of token procedures to match to children's level of behavioral severity was Walker's text "The acting out child."[8]

There are three main parts to behavior management systems: Whole group, table group, and individual. These can be things such as marble jars for the class, prize charts for the tables, and a grid chart with 25 spaces for individual students. There are many different types of charts you can find to use for each part.[9]

Building prosocial behavior[edit]

Over the years, behavioral management principles such as reinforcement, modeling and even the use of punishment have been explored in the building of prosocial behavior. This area is sometimes referred to as "Behavioral Development" or Behavior analysis of child development. Midlarsky and colleagues (1973) used a combination of modeling and reinforcement to build altruistic behavior.[10] Two studies exist in which modeling by itself did not increase prosocial behavior;[11][12] however, modeling is much more effective than instruction giving (such as "preaching").[13][14] The role of rewards has been implicated in the building of self-control[15] and empathy.[16][17][18] Cooperation seems particularly susceptible to rewards.[19][20][21][22] Sharing is another prosocial behavior influenced by reinforcement.[23][24]

Reinforcement is particularly effective at least early in the learning series if context conditions are similar.[25] Evidence exists to show some generalization.[26]

Recent research indicates that behavioral "interventions" produce the most valuable results when "applied" during early childhood and "early adolescence."[27]

More controversial has been the role of punishment in forming prosocial behavior. One study found that donation rates of children could be increased by punishing episodes of failure to donate.[28]

The socialization process continues by peers with reinforcement and punishment playing major roles. Peers are more likely to punish cross-gender play and reinforce play specific to gender.[29][30][31]

Behavior management is used when an individual tries to stop problem behavior from another individual. Behavior modification and behavior therapy are two ways to help with behavior management. Behavior therapy is used when an individual is trying to find the course of the behavior, why the individual is behaving the way they are. Behavior modification is a technique to increase or decrease behavior. Using these techniques, one can achieve behavior management. (Goal: Making audience more informed on the topics and using proper grammar and neutral language)

Positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment are all forms of Operant Conditioning. Reinforcements are when you try to increase behavior, either positively or negatively. If you use positive reinforcement, you add a wanted stimulus for desired behavior (e.g. awarding good behavior with a treat). Negative reinforcement is when you increase behavior by removing something unwanted. (e.g., The child’s room is messy and his mom nags him to clean it up, he eventually keeps it clean to remove his mom’s nagging.) Punishment is trying to decrease behavior, either by using negative or positive. Positive punishment is when you add an unwanted stimulus to decrease the target’s behavior. (e.g., spanking a child when he behaves badly.) Here, spanking is being added to decrease his bad behavior. Negative punishment is when you remove something the target enjoys or likes to remove his or her bad behavior. (e.g. your child comes home past curfew every weekend, you remove watching TV when he is past curfew, therefore, your child’s behavior of coming past curfew will decrease.) This is negative punishment because your child likes to watch TV, so when you take that away from him for being late, he doesn’t like it, therefore, wanting to come home in time to not get that privilege taken away. (Goal: to elaborate and give more background to help reinforce the theory.)

Abraham Maslow is a very well-known humanist psychologist with his work on hierarchy needs, in which he states that humans have basic needs, and if they are not satisfied, those individuals will not desire anything else. Maslow also claims that humans are never really satisfied, in that our needs are never fully fulfilled, therefore, this can affect how we can behave (e.g., if our needs are never fully fulfilled, then we might not always behave well, even if we do get a treat for good behavior.) A related concept, "Hawthorne Effect" involves the manipulation of behavior of somebody being observed. For example, if you’re being studied in an experiment, you might perform better or work harder because you are aware of the attention you are getting. It is this effect of observation that is called the "Hawthorne Effect". This is interesting because if we take a child who is behaving very poorly, no matter what, and they were put in an experiment, they might increase their good behavior because they are getting attention from the researcher. The point of operant conditioning in behavior modification is to regulate the behavior. It is a method to use different techniques and tie them all together to monitor how one behaves. It can cause a problem when talking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs because in this model Maslow goes on to explain how no one’s needs are fully met. The highest point on Maslow’s pyramid is self-actualization which Maslow argues is the goal in which we do not reach. This can pose a problem when it comes to behavior modification because one might think if that individual can not reach that ultimate goal, why try at all. Self-actualization is the goal in which humans have this sense of belonging or accomplishment. Humans have needs, just like any other breed of animal and when one type of animal does not attain those goals or needs, there is this feeling of dissatisfaction. When a person does not meet that top goal there is a void and that person might feel depressed that he or she can not get to that ultimate step. Using these behavioral modifications or techniques one can train or teach oneself how to better attain these goals.

Managing defensive behavior[edit]

Understanding and dealing with defensiveness is an important personal skill. Following are some of the strategies:[32]

  1. Recognize that defensive behaviour is normal.
  2. Never attack a person’s defences. Do not try to “explain someone” to himself or herself by saying things like, “You know the real reason you are using that excuse is that you cannot bear to be blamed for anything.” Instead, try to concentrate on the act itself (“sales are down, coding done is not bug-free”) rather than on the person (“you are not selling enough, your coding skills are bad”).
  3. Postpone action. Sometimes it is best to do nothing at all. People frequently react to sudden threats by instinctively hiding behind their “masks.” Given sufficient time, however, a more rational reaction usually takes over.
  4. Recognize human limitations. Do not expect to be able to solve every problem that comes up, especially the human ones. More importantly, remember that a layman should not try to be a psychologist. Offering employees understanding is one thing; trying to deal with deep psychological problems is another matter entirely.


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